There have been so many completely insane and memorable wrestling gimmick matches over the years. There’s Paul Orndorff and Hulk Hogan’s photo finish steel cage match. Approximately 750 guys defeating the Undertaker in his casket match with Yokozuna. Hardcore matches, Texas Tornado, Texas Death, any match with the word “Texas” added to it. Even the Royal Rumble is one big gimmick match. Most of the time, they’re some of the most memorable matches on the card.
For every Mick Foley getting heaved off of and through the Hell In A Cell, for every Jon Moxley slamming Joey Janela into thumbtacks, every Pinfalls Count Anywhere; there is also a ton of good ol’ “wrestlecrap” gimmick matches that should never see the light of day. Thankfully, Vince McMahon agreed, and these matches only happened once. Unfortunately, there are concepts like the Punjabi Prison that he really wanted to make work and we still occasionally have to endure. We’re talking about matches like that and not matches like “The Dutchess Of Queensbury,” that were designed to be intentionally terrible. But hopefully, we’ll never see the former again. Here are 10 Forgotten WWE Gimmick Matches We Only Saw Once.
10 Kennel From Hell - Unforgiven 1999
From the very angle that spawned the match all the way to its execution, The Kennel From Hell was so out of left field that, in hindsight, there was no way this could have been good. But it sure sounded cool.
The old blue bar steel cage surrounded by the Hell In A Cell AND trained attack dogs acting as lumberjacks, that sounds pretty crazy. Then again, when the dogs aren’t really trained to do much attacking and spend most of the match going to the bathroom all over the ringside area, Al Snow and the Bossman had a lot to live down following this match.
9 Cry-Baby - In Your House 6: Rage In The Cage 1996
The 1-2-3 Kid and Razor Ramon are both more than accomplished Hall Of Fame competitors. Whose desk did they both take a you-know-what on to have to deal with this match. The two faced off in a “Cry-Baby” match at In Your House in February 1996.
The winner has to put their opponent in a giant diaper and give them some powder and a bottle. The loser has to suffer the humiliation of being put in the ridiculous get-up. Who really wins in this scenario? Did Razor actually want to put a diaper on the Kid?
8 Tables And Dumpsters - King Of The Ring 2000
The Dudley’s were known for devastating their opponents by slamming them through tables. The New Age Outlaws had occasionally sent their opposition dumpster diving. Why not put the two concepts together and have the four combatants completely obliterate each other.
Except that it was Road Dogg, X-Pac, and Tori taking on the Dudley’s. The match wasn’t so terrible considering the talent involved. But you can only do so much with a giant dumpster instead the maneuverability of table and then later ladder and chairs.
7 Indian Arm Wrestling - Smackdown 08/08/08
Arm wrestling and professional wrestling have had a long-standing partnership. Whenever two musclebound meatheads are getting ready for their big match, they’ll sometimes have an arm wrestling contest. Triple H and the Great Khali put a dangerous spin on the silly gimmick on the all eights edition of Smackdown.
They had a Broken Glass Indian Arm Wrestling match. We should all thank someone that Terry Funk wasn’t a part of this as he’d have a gaping hole in his hand! But instead Khali head-butted the Game before either man could smash the others into a bed of glass.
6 Stairs - TLC...And Stairs 2014
Apparently, someone in booking was so high on this gimmick match, that they renamed the 2014 TLC event to include Chairs as well. The steel steps actually do weigh approximately 250 lbs, the equivalent of a Roman Reigns.
While some detractors would love to see the Big Show or even Rowan lob a Roman Reigns at each other for a few minutes in a match, the two big men cancel each other’s work out in a normal match. Now toss in a big awkward set of steps and you have all the workings of what some in the business would call a “proverbial fart in church.”
5 The Dungeon - IYH: Fully Loaded 1998
For years, the stories of the Hart Dungeon have come the tales of legend and folklore. The house itself was designated as a Heritage Site in Calgary. The number of wrestlers that came out of the Dungeon is astounding. Why not show all of that off?!
At Fully Loaded 1998, that’s what Owen Hart and Ken Shamrock tried to do when they had a Dungeon Match. Nobody thought to explain to them that the actual Dungeon is too small to actually work a match in.
4 Good Housekeeping - No Mercy 1999
Chyna became the first ever and to date, only female to win the WWE Intercontinental. She did so defeating Double J, Jeff Jarret at No Mercy in a Good Housekeeping Match.
Since Jarrett believed women should be in the home barefoot and preggers, the match was designed to be a hardcore match just with household items. The match was ok for what it was, but it was essentially just a hardcore match that sought to demean women.
3 Iron Circle - Fully Loaded 1999
As the proto-Kurt Angle / Brock Lesnar shoot fighter style wrestler, Ken Shamrock was put into all sorts of unique situations to showcase how much of a badass he was. At Fully Loaded 1999, that meant putting him in an Iron Circle match against fellow shootfighter, Steve Blackman.
It was in a parking garage and the pair were surrounded by cars (an Iron Circle). The first to beat their opponent to a pulp and leave the circle was the winner. That all sounds way cooler than it looked.
2 Asylum - Extreme Rules 2016
In 2016, Dean Ambrose was known as hardcore freak, Jon Moxley. He was also engaged in a heated war with Chris Jericho over their respective talk shows - The Ambrose Asylum and The Highlight Reel.
That meant they needed to do battle in an Asylum match. It was a steel cage with a roof and attached to the roof were all kinds of weapons. Cool concept, but if the WWE ever does it again, they need to make it a lot easier to get weapons off the top of the cage.
1 San Francisco 49ers - WCW Nitro 10/02/00
The final year of WCW are looked back laughingly as a history of Vince Russo and “On A Pole” matches. Not only is this one - the San Francisco 49ers Match one night only themed match. But it’s also a great metaphor of what was wrong with WCW, Russo, and why Russo needed a filter to refine his work and make it better.
This one’s a decent idea - a box hung from a pole at every turnbuckle and there’s an item inside each of them. One contains the WCW title. The other three? Really cool weapons to beat your opponent with? Nope, Russo’s idea of a joke - a blow up doll, a glove, and a framed picture of Scott Hall.